updated 01:15 pm EDT, Wed September 5, 2007
Apple Event at the Moscone
Apple CEO Steve Jobs this morning took the stage to talk about music, emphasizing that Apple's iTunes digital music service was the third largest music reseller with over 6 million songs in each store, 125,000 different podcasts, and 25,000 video podcasts. Jobs said that the had sold 95,000,000 television shows and that only 32 percent of music releases in the US were digital-only releases. Jobs introduced a new ringtone maker built into iTunes that allows users to create ringtones from over 500,000 songs (entire catalog is 6 million). The new version of iTunes, due later today, will allow you choose 30 seconds of of the song, create fade in/outs, and preview the song before confirming purchase. It will cost $0.99 for the song and $0.99 to make the ringtone. The service will be available starting next week via a new Ringtones tab that pops up when the iPhone is docked.
Apple also announced it would revamp the entire iPod lineup and new Product Red-based models and a new interface. The new iPod shuffles feature 1GB of memory and will cost $79: they will be available in slightly different colors: red, gray, light blue, teal, and green.
Jobs also announced the a new iPod nano--based on similar design to previous reports: thin and wide. The new Nano is available in black, silver, blue, green, and red. The 2.0-inch (diagnol) screen, which takes up the top of half the front side, allows users to watch video at 320×240 (204 ppi), which is the same as the (current) iPod video. The iPod nano offers a battery life of 24 hours for audio playback and 5 hours of video playback: it will be available in 4GB (silver only) for $149 and 8GB models (all colors) for $199. Jobs said the Nanos have shipped and are expected to be in stores this weekend.
Jobs also introduced the new iPod video with a new name and "full metal design". The new "iPod Classic" will be available in two models: 80GB (25hrs music, 5hrs video) for $249 and 160GB (40hrs music, 7hrs video) for $349. Both models will ship today with the updated interface. The 80GB model is thinner than the current 30GB model, but the 160GB model is thinner.
Apple also debuted the new "iPod touch" based on the iPhone design and thin --only 8mm--form-factor. The new iPod touch model offers the same touchscreen UI with the pinch/swipe gestures and the large 3.5-inch screen. Using much of the same technology from the iPhone, it features WiFi, a "Slide to unlock" mechanism (same as iPhone), and offers same "Springboard" UI as the iPhone with icons for Calendar, Contacts, Clock, Calculator, Settings, YouTube etc. It also offers a full Safari browser like the iPhone to allow users to connect to internet at places where authentication and/or interaction is required first (disclaimers or pay-per-use WiFi). Safari offers the same Google/Yahoo search functions and automatically pops up when you are not default network to allow you to connect. The iPhone touch -- with 22hrs music/5hrs video battery life -- is expected to ship later this month and will be available in 8GB ($299) and 16GB ($399).
Jobs also introduced the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store--which fits as last icon on iPhone dock. The Wi-Fi store ("faster than any 2.5G or 3G network") is a full version of the music store with sections for new releases, what's hot, different music genres, and full-browsing and search functions. Purchases are identical to your Mac/PC purchases with full album art and will sync to your computer when you next dock/connect your iPod touch. It will be available for both the iPhone and iPod touch.
Apple also announce a partnership to bring iTunes Store to all Starbucks locations. Users within range of a Wi-Fi enabled Starbucks coffee shop will be able to purchase songs that are playing at the location. Users can browse the previous 10 songs (and purchase those as well). The store will not require a WiFi login (currently Starbucks uses T-Mobile and charges for internet access). Apple begin rolling out the mobile store on October 2nd in both Seattle and NY (600 stores) then San Francisco in November (350 stores) and then more cities/stories--Los Angeles in February (600 stores) and Chicago in March--for a total of 25 percent. All stores are expected to be enabled in 2009.